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- 1620: The five islands that comprise what is today East Boston
(Noddle's, Hog/Breed's, Governor's, Apple, and Bird)
are granted to Plymouth by King James I of England.
- 1622: The Plymouth Council grants Noddle's Island to Captain
- 1629: Sir William Brereton receives Noddle's and Hog/Breed's
islands from John Gorges.
- 1632: Governor's Island is granted to John Winthrop.
- 1633: Samuel Maverick, Episcopalian and Royalist, acquires Noddle's
Island and becomes the first recorded resident. The
island is primarily used for grazing livestock. Samuel
Maverick may be the earliest slave holder in Massachusetts.
He purchased several natives of Tortugas in 1638.
Maverick is an early champion of religious tolerance
for which he is fined and imprisoned.
- 1636: Noddle's Island is claimed by Boston.
- 1670: Noddle's Island is purchased by Samuel Shrimpton. He allows
persecuted Baptists to worship on the island (1665-1679).
- 1700: Several salt works are opened in East Boston.
- 1764: Robert Temple's Noddle's Island mansion is used as an inoculating
station during a smallpox epidemic.
- 1775: Colonel Stark has a skirmish with British soldiers on Noddle's
Island. Later in the year, British war ships fire
on colonists while the latter remove all livestock
and food from the islands to deprive British troops
of supplies. The first naval battle of the Revolution, the Battle of Chelsea Creek, is fought off of Noddle's Island. This United States victory
occurred on May 27.
- 1796: A ferry runs from Boston to Noddle's Island.
- 1808: The United States government acquired Governor's Island
from the Winthrop family, who had owned it since 1632.
- 1814: Fort Strong, designed by Loammi Baldwin, is completed on
- 1815-1833: Apple Island is privately owned.
- 1814: Noddle Island has only eight residents.
- 1833: General William H. Summer acquires Noddle's Island and
with the help of Samuel Lewis (Director of the East
Boston Company), and S.P. Fuller (surveyor for Boston),
he develops East Boston into one of the first planned
communities in the city under the hand of his East
Boston Company (originally the North Boston Company).
Smith's and Belmont Hills are leveled and filling
begins in East Boston. Two ferries, Maverick
and East Boston, run from Rowe's Wharf to Maverick
Square. Guy Haynes builds the first house in East
Boston on Webster and Cottage Streets.
- 1834: Chelsea Street Bridge is built and the East Boston Sugar
Refinery is the first business in East Boston.
- 1835: The elegant eighty-room Maverick House Hotel at Maverick
Square helps promote East Boston as a resort area
of 607 permanent residents, 10 wharves, and 50 private
homes. There is regular ferry service begins between
Lewis Street and Boston.
- 1836: The Eastern Railroad runs from Boston to Salem and the
first school opens on Meridien Street in a building
owned by the Malleable Iron Company.
- 1837: Maverick Congregational Church is constructed on Maverick
Street, becoming the first church in East Boston.
It later becomes St. Nicholas' Catholic Church. The
census records 1,000 residents in East Boston.
- 1840: The Cunard line, founded by Sir Samuel Cunard (1787-1865)
of London builds a pier in East Boston. The Cunard
line carries many of the Irish immigrants who settled
in East Boston. The first Cunard ship to arrive in
Boston is the Unicorn which makes the transatlantic
voyage in 16 days.
- 1841: Painter William Matthew Prior (1806-1873) moved to East
Boston from Portland, Maine and lived on Trenton Street
in Eagle Hill.
- 1842: The Methodist Episcopal Bethel is founded on Meridien and
- 1844: Donald McKay's (1810-1880) shipyard opens on Border Street.
Enoch Train (1801-1868) begins the White Diamond Line
primarily using McKay's ships. The White Diamond Line
becomes a fierce competitor of the Cunard line on
the merchant route from Liverpool to Boston. Irish
immigrants establish the Church of St. Nicholas, the
first Catholic Church in East Boston.
- 1851: McKay's clipper ship, the Flying Cloud, owned by
Enoch Train and Captained by Josiah Perkins Cressy,
sets a new record by sailing from New York to San
Francisco in 89 days. McKay becomes world famous for
- 1845: The census describes 5,310 people in East Boston and the
- 1853: The People's Ferry becomes the second ferry line to connect
Boston and East Boston.
- 1854: The People's Ferry becomes the second ferry line to Boston.
The First Presbyterian Church is established.
- 1855: According to the Massachusetts State Census, 23% of East
Boston residents are from Ireland. They settle in
the Jeffries Point and form the bulk of the unskilled
labor force. There are 16,600 residents in East Boston.
- 1855-1905: Largest period of Canadian immigration; between 1915
and 1920 Canadian-born immigrants represent 20% of
the East Boston population.
- 1856: The Most Holy Redeemer Church is built on Maverick Street
with a 200-foot spire. It is designed by Patrick C.
Keeley and dedicated by Bishop Fenwick.
- 1865: The census records 20,572 residents in East Boston.
- 1867: City of Boston purchases Apple's Island for use as a gravel
pit. The Island is renamed variously Susanna, Belle
Isle, and lastly Breed's Island.
- 1869: The East
Boston Branch Library is established. It is the
first municipally supported branch library in the
- 1870: A fire along the waterfront destroys many East Boston piers
accelerating the demise of the wooden ship building
- 1875: The Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn Railroad is founded.
McKay closes his last shipyard in East Boston, which
leads many skilled craftsmen to move to Back Bay or
the new suburbs.
- 1879: The first chartered yacht club in the Eastern United States,
Jeffries Point Yacht Club, is founded.
- 1880's: Two settlements, Good Will House on Webster Street and
Trinity House on Meridian Street, help immigrants.
- 1885-1915: Italians and Russian Jews immigrate into East Boston.
The Italians come from the North End and from Italy;
they move into Jeffries Hill at Cottage and Maverick
Streets, spread to Chelsea Street, then move to the
eastern slope of Eagle Hill, and finally the more
affluent, usually second-generation, move to Orient
heights (the former Breed's Hill). The Jews first
replace the Irish in Jeffries Point then move to Porter
and Chelsea Streets.
- 1885: The population steadily increases to 29,280.
- 1888: Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy
is born at 151 Meridian Street in East Boston.
- 1892: The First Synagogue is established and St. Mary's Church
is founded on Jeffries Point.
- 1894: Boston Land Company auctions Orient Heights land (open
for settlement since 1880s) and earns $21,448.78 for
north slope lots.
- 1898: Frederick
Law Olmsted (1822-1903) designs Wood Island Park
(now World War Memorial Park). The park includes a
racetrack, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and a bathhouse.
1900s: Italian immigrants began to settle in East
Boston, becoming the major ethnic group in the neighborhood
by 1915. There are also five Jewish temples in East
Boston by 1900, including Temple Ohel Jacob on Paris
- 1900-1904: The first streetcar tunnel in America is dug under
- 1901: East Boston High School built on Marion Street. It is later
renamed Joseph H. Barnes School, after an East Boston
native in the Civil War.
- 1903: St. John's Church is built on Lexington Street.
- 1905: Largest Jewish community in New England is located in East
Boston, especially around Chelsea and Porter Streets.
- 1908: Fire in Jeffries Hill leads much of the Jewish community
to relocate to Chelsea. In the next twenty years,
Jews proper and continue to move out of East Boston
to Chelsea, and also to Roxbury or Dorchester.
- 1914: Massachusetts Bible Society records East Boston as containing
68% Catholic, 19% Protestant, 11% Jewish, and 2% Greek
Orthodox, Armenian, Chinese, or no church affiliation.
- 1915: The census records 62,377 residents in East Boston.
- 1922: A municipal health study describes the ethnic composition
of East Boston: Italians live in the area bounded
by Maverick Square and Maverick Street, the docks
to Central Square, Boarder Street, Porter Street to
Boston & Maine tracks; Italians intermingled with
Jews and Portuguese between havre, Chelsea, Porter
and Paris Streets; Irish, British, Americans, and
Jewish in area bounded by Porter Street to railroad
to Prescott Street to Day Square to Chelsea Creek;
Irish and second-generation Italians in the more affluent
area east of Prescott Street. Boston Municipal Airport
is first built on Wood Island Park.
- 1923: An airfield, later an airport, named after South Boston
native and World War I Infantry Commander Edward L.
Logan is begun with a runway near Jeffries Point on
- 1925: The population of East Boston peaks at 64,069. Immigration
quotas limit the number of new immigrants into the
- 1926: Present East Boston High School on White Street built.
- 1931-1934: The Sumner Tunnel, the first car tunnel in Boston,
Suffolk Downs raceway is built. It closes in 1989.
- 1946-48: Bird, Apple, and Governor's Islands are converted into
- 1955: Orient Heights Public Housing project is built.
- 1958-61: The Callahan Tunnel becomes the second car tunnel connecting
downtown to Logan Airport.
Logan Airport, which had operated under various city
and state jurisdictions, is run by the newly established
Massachusetts Port Authority. There has been controversy
for nearly fifty years about the Airport's expansion
and the residential needs of East Boston residents.
- 1968: Wood Island Park taken over and Neptune Road houses are
bulldozed for additional Logan runways. Logan also
constructs a new terminal. In October, Maverick Street
mothers stage a parade and sit-in to change the truck
routes through their community. By 1976, Logan Airport
represents two-thirds of the land in East Boston.
and 1980s: Spanish speaking immigrants from the
Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Central America
begin settling in the area.
The census indicates a significant growth in the percentage
of minorities in East Boston over the last decade.
More blacks, Asians, and Latinos moved into the area.
Vietnamese begin settling in East Boston.
Victor F.,ed. Boston. A Colonial History of East
Boston. Privately Printed, 1975.
Boston. Boston 200 Neighborhood History Series.
Boston: Boston 200 Corporation, 1976.
- Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. East Boston. Dover, N.H.: Arcadia,
William. History of East Boston. Boston: J.E.
Tilton and Co., 1858.